I remember a board member for a company I once worked with say “the true character of a company is measured by how they bury their dead”. He was giving us – the senior management team – a little advice on being careful and respectful of how we were about to deal with pending cutbacks in overhead.
His statement guided us to do the right things for the business and the right thing for the soon to be departing employees, and we did. We developed a communication strategy up and down the organization to demonstrate the brutal facts of the marketplace. Explained how we were going to maintain and grow our market share while addressing the necessary overhead reductions and the other cost saving implementations.
How we dealt with the departing issues framed the attitude, commitment and loyalty of those remaining through the difficult times. Our actions preserved our culture and our basic business values. Senior management acted like we were expected to act – with care and respect for our employees, and in return we continued to receive defect free quality products and a reasonable return for our shareholders.
With so many cutbacks going on in today’s economy, many businesses today would benefit from this advice as well. When I asked a coaching client of mine how things were going with their company’s cutbacks – his response was “it’s a dark cold world out there”.
It doesn’t have to be dark and cold … but maybe it is the “true character of the company” he works with ?